A bi-weekly update from the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.                                        


MLK's Legacy Seen Across Massachusetts

This past weekend, the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. was celebrated across the Commonwealth through community-building service and learning activities. From the Berkshires to Boston, nonprofits engaged residents of all ages in activities that, like Dr. King, promoted the importance of caring for others. Here are just some of the many events that took place across the state:

Through Project 351, 8th grade ambassadors from the 351 cities and towns across Massachusetts gathered at the State House on Saturday to kick-off a year of service and leadership development. Throughout the day, the hundreds of students participated in projects with City Year, Boston CaresPine Street Inn, Cradles to Crayons, and the Greater Boston Food Bank

Ambassadors and a City Year Corps. member beautify a local school on Project 351's service day.


"Our hope was to showcase Dr. King's legacy in action -- the awe-inspiring force of good that results when a community commits to love, inclusion, and a relentless determination to progress Dr. King's vision of the Beloved Community." - Carolyn Casey, Founder, Project 351.  

In the Berkshires, hundreds of volunteers packed care kits for U.S. soldiers serving overseas, gathered food for local residents in need, and helped clean and organize local churches. In addition, the local chapter of the NAACP brought young residents to see the movie Selma and then had a rich discussion about the history of civil rights. Megan Whilden, Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College and MNN Board member highlighted the perfect relationship between MLK's legacy and nonprofits: "Nonprofits tend to embody what MLK preached- service above self and constant movement towards positive social change." 


Read more about what happened this weekend across the state.


Working Together to Increase Public Awareness
As nonprofits, it's our job to educate our volunteers, donors and elected officials about the importance of our missions. But don't overlook the benefit of touting how efficient, effective and essential the entire nonprofit sector is- when we work together to increase public awareness, we all win.

While the topics of overhead cost and executive compensation tend to get the public's attention, we all know that these issues barely scrape the surface of the challenges facing the sector. Consider these other important points to help increase public awareness of your organization's impact and the broader impact of the sector:

Nonprofits are economic engines. While nonprofits don't exist solely to sell "widgets" or make a profit, the truth is that nonprofits provide goods and services to communities that have real financial and economic value. Nonprofits in Massachusetts have a combined annual revenue of $227 billion and 1 in 6 of the state's workforce makes their living from the nonprofit sector. View an infographic that illustrates the impact of the state's nonprofit sector.

Impact. Impact. Impact. If you're not already measuring impact, you should start. The importance of illustrating the activities and results of your organization cannot be overstated. Make sure your constituents know your reach (i.e. people served, programs executed) and anecdotes that tell the story of your impact.

Stay away from "inside baseball." Make sure your organization's mission is as clear as possible. Don't use jargon or industry terms- use descriptions that community members can understand and relate to. 



Now Open: NFF's 2015 State of the Sector Survey
Don't miss this opportunity to share the issues that are impacting your nonprofit

The Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) is conducting its seventh annual nationwide survey examining the current state of the nonprofit sector, and we hope you will add your voice and share your feedback. The State of the Sector Survey, which is anonymous and takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete, collects data on challenges facing the nonprofit sector, as well as new and emerging trends. Click here to take the survey.

This is one of the largest data-driven community organizing efforts in the social sector. MNN supports the survey because NFF is committed to turning the survey results into action and making them available to everyone through an online Survey Analyzer. Findings from past NFF surveys have been included in government testimony and policy recommendations, presented at dozens of conferences, and used to bring your perspective to life. 

The survey is open until February 18- click here to take the survey now and please pass it on to other nonprofits in your community. The more survey respondents, the more representative and useful the findings will be. NFF will analyze the results and distribute them to the community in early May.

Boston Globe Highlights the Overhead Debate

Last week in the Boston Globe, Sacha Pfeiffer examined the ongoing debate surrounding overhead. The article including input from both sides- including Dan Pallotta and his very visible billboards. MNN's CEO Rick Jakious chimes in with sage advice: "overhead costs should be just one of many factors when evaluating how efficiently charities operate." See full article here.

Start 2015 Off Right
In addition to strengthening MNN's voice on behalf of the sector, membership to the network brings immediate and long-term benefits to your organization:
  • Exclusive invites and discounts to MNN trainings and events 
  • Discounts on trainings from MNN partners including Third Sector New England and Human Service Forum
  • An immediate network of 600+ other nonprofits, and the for-profits that support them, from across the state and in every subsector
  • Discounts on HR, IT, financial services, insurance, office supplies and select business publications
  • An experienced advocate working on behalf of MNN members at the state and national level
Click here to learn more and to join. And if you're already a member- make sure your entire staff take advantage of all the great benefits
AmeriCorps member will attend tonight's State of the Union address with Congressman Moulton 
Moulton invited Ludia Modi from Lynn, who coordinates The Food Project, to listen to President Obama's speech on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day because he said: "Ludia is living Dr. King's legacy by dedicating her time and energy to making our community a better place."

Upcoming State Senate Listening Tour 
The state senate will begin the year with a listening tour so that Senators can hear from residents across the Commonwealth about the crucial challenges and opportunities impacting local communities and the entire state. Make sure to hold the following dates (more information to follow): 2/4, 2/11, 2/23, 2/25, 3/2, 3/4, and 3/11.

From Chronicle of Philanthropy: 5 Policy Moves to Watch in 2015
According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, here are the top 5 public policy issues for the coming year: charitable tax deductions; federal grant rule; Paul Ryan's antipoverty plan; donor advised funds; and the Affordable Care Act. Read the full article.

State's Budget Gap Larger Than Expected
Earlier today, Governor Charlie Baker said that Massachusetts is facing a budget gap of $765 million. According to the Springfield Republican, Baker said tax revenues are coming in on target, with an approximately 4.5 percent increase over last year. However, state spending is on target to increase by 7.3 percent, which Baker said "is far in excess of growth in state tax revenue."
What to expect when you're expecting to be recognized as an exempt organization
By Charles Fayerweather, Partner, Hemenway & Barnes LLP

If you start a new tax-exempt organization you certainly do not expect to have the IRS revoke your tax-exempt status before they have recognized you as tax exempt in the first place. But that is what is happening to some new organizations. It is due to the combination of the relatively new IRS rule that automatically revokes tax-exempt status if filings are not made for three years, and recent IRS delays in processing applications for recognition of exempt status- which sometimes exceed that three year period.

To avoid having this happen to your organization, it is important to understand
that your filing obligations start when your organization is established, not when
it is recognized by the IRS.

Chief Advancement Officer, Italian Home for Children

VP/ Director of Marketing, Cradles to Crayons

Executive Director, The Jericho Road Project

Director of Finance, Accounting Management Solutions

CEO, Read to a Child

Senior Development Officer, Greater Worcester Community Foundation

Director of Development and Advancement, Bridgewell

Development Director, Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School

Executive Director, Camp Harborview

Executive Director, Friendship Home

Foundation and Corporate Relations Manager, More Than Words

Communications Associate, Massachusetts Nonprofit Network

Executive Director, FOUR PAWS International

Public Policy Director, Rosie's Place

Executive Director, Pawtucket Central Falls Development Corp.

Executive Director, Raising A Reader MA


Grant & Award Opportunities

Department of Education, Due January 20
Vela Foundation, Due March 2
Carter Manny Award, Due March 15
ArtWeek Boston, Due March 20
Fields Pond Foundation, rolling application
The Vision Fund
, rolling application
Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, rolling application 
ASPCA, rolling application

Trainings & Events 
*Discounts for MNN members
Get New Headshots, Boston, February 4 & 5

*Financial Management for Nonprofit Organizations, Boston, February 5

Engaging Your Board in Creating Sustainable Funding, webinar, Feb. 5

Technical Strategies to Ensure Full Participation in Multi-Lingual Meetings, Boston, February 5

Introduction to Major Gifts Fundraising, Boston, February 19

*Dare To Be Happy: Positive Psychology in Practice, Holyoke, February 26

Group Facilitation: Bringing Community Meetings to Life, Lawrence, March 3

Basics of Community Organizing, Roxbury, March 5

Marlboro Board Leadership Institute, Brattleboro, VT, March 7- April 16

Social Media: Tips and Tools for Using Social Media to Build Support for your Mission, Boston, March 19

*HSF Supervisory Skills Certificate Series, Holyoke, March 19

*Courage in Leaving: An Act of Leadership for the Transitions Ahead, May 21-22 (registration deadline is January 30)


Bright Idea! MA nonprofits can get extremely discounted light bulbs through the National Grid instant rebate program. The offer ends 1/31. Contact Bill McNalley to learn more: bmcnally@bulbs.com / 508-363-2800 x123.


Bridgespan Group Launches Multi-Year Effort to Help Nonprofits Strengthen Their Performance Using Management Tools. View the report Nonprofit Management Tools & Trends to better understand the role management tools play in the efforts of nonprofit leaders to boost their organizations' performance.


Nominations for the Human Service Forum Awards are now being accepted! Nominate a nonprofit employee, volunteers or local business that supports the community by February 12. 


If your staff is looking for opportunities to volunteer OR your nonprofit wants to connect with thousands of volunteers in Greater Boston, contact Building Impact. Building Impact will come to your office and engage your employees in meaningful projects to benefit a local nonprofit. And the support is free to the benefiting nonprofit. Contact Nonprofit Program Coordinator, Robert Kordenbrock at Robert@BuildingImpact.org to learn more.


Check out MNN's online Professional Directory for companies throughout MA. 

New & Returning Affiliates
*Discounts for MNN members


One of the nation's leading business schools, Bentley University is dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader and one with the deep technical skills, the broad global perspective and the high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world.


Specializing in insurance and retirement, for more than 40 years Cleary Insurance has had a commitment to educating, guiding and supporting their clients with honest advice. They advocate on behalf of their nonprofit clients to help keep the focus on the organization's mission.


Organizational development and strategic planning to help nonprofits achieve their mission. Their flagship service is the Essential Strategic Plan, an online mix of webinars, worksheets, prerecorded videos, and readings for a fraction of what it would cost to hire a live consultant. 


Delivers comprehensive legal counsel in all aspects of nonprofit law, governance, regulation, and charitable giving. They provide practical strategies and structures for sound nonprofit governance and critical legal documents attuned to the unique nonprofit needs of each client.


Cost-effective, outsourced Finance, Technology and HR management consulting. They can support your business or nonprofit by performing any and all accounting and finance, technology and human resource functions, as well as providing CFO, CIO and senior HR leadership and advice.


With a background in advocacy and community organizing, Leise specializes in photography for non-profit groups and mission-driven companies. She offers event coverage, editorial photos for fundraising materials and reports, headshots and staff profiles - all at affordable rates. *10% off event photography services for first time clients. (Two hour minimum event coverage.)


MajorDonors.com helps smaller nonprofits boost revenues. They assess your organization and put a plan in place to get you to the next level; create a major gift program from scratch or enhance the one you have; build the board you need; and find creative development staffing solutions.  *10% discount with a $250 maximum.


MSalkin Associates specializes in candidate development and executive search for small to midsize nonprofit organizations. *10% discount on retained advisory recruiting services.


A donor intelligence firm that helps nonprofits undraise by serving as an outsourced analytics department. They help organizations simplify engagement and fundraising campaigns by using the best channels to target the right people and report on what matters most. *Preferred rates on ongoing fundraising and analytical support.


A B-Corp certified advisory firm specializing in nonprofits and socially-responsible businesses, Raffa serves organizations across the country to effectively and efficiently manage their most critical processes. The company offers a deep bench of expertise across an array of services, including organizational sustainability, strategic planning, and executive and C-suite transitions.


A full service construction and renovation firm that specializes in occupied space renovation. They work in a Design/Build capacity or with the clients Design Team.

MNN's work is made possible by The Barr Foundation, The Boston Foundation & State Street Foundation.
If you'd like to share a story or have a job, grant or other information that is important to Massachusetts nonprofits, contact llynch@massnonprofitnet.org .